Fox News Channel said it would count on a larger group of anchors to boost one of its top shows, “The Five,” as it enjoys a new level of success.
Jeanine Pirro, the firebrand former prosecutor who has held forth on Fox News’ Saturday-night schedule for a decade, will fill one of two empty seats at the network’s late-afternoon mainstay, with a trio of liberals — Harold Ford Jr., Geraldo Rivera and Jessica Tarlov — rotating as the program’s voice from the left. Those three have been filling in since the resident liberal of “The Five,” Juan Williams, parted ways with the show last May. Greg Gutfeld, Dana Perino and Jesse Watters have carried on with a rotating group of guests in the interim. Pirro will give up the regular Saturday-night show she has hosted for a decade.
“The Five” has in recent months done something unusual. More than a decade into its tenure on the Fox Corp.-backed outlet, it has seen a surge in audience — an atypical trend for a program that doesn’t air in primetime. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the program won more viewers overall across all cable-news offerings.
As such, tinkering with it is not something to be done lightly. “The Five” has served as a template for a range of programs across the Fox News’ schedule, including the new late-night round-table program “Gutfeld,” the daytime staple “Outnumbered,” and two weekend programs, “The Big Saturday Show” and “The Big Sunday Show.” In executives’ view, “The Five” serves as sort of family-dinner table where people can argue over topics without walking away angry. “It’s a great show for us, and it’s a great show for America, actually,” Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott told Variety in a 2019 interview. Whether the addition of Pirro, a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of former President Trump who has been prone to dramatic commentary on her own program, tilts that balance remains to be seen.
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